|Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001|
Friday, June 1, 2001.
Morning in New Zealand is a bit cold - in the room, anyway. The bed stayed nice and warm, but without central heating, the outside temperature of 6 degrees Centigrade quickly becomes and inside temperature of 6 degrees Centigrade. COLD!
Stacy woke up first, Richard, after staying up late messing with web pages, wanted to sleep in more. We didn't get to breakfast until nearly 10am. Gail was good enough to make us eggs, and in our discussions we realized that Jeanette and Graeme would be coming up on Tuesday, so we reserved a room on Tuesday as well - since we'd be leaving on Wednesday, it made sense to plan a return visit.
Our bags all packed and CRV loaded up, the next challenge was to find our way to Tauranga.
Our route took us through the Coromandel region, which is a peninsula above Tauranga. We thought since we were tourists and all, we ought to take a tour of the countryside, rather than just race down the highway. We had originally thought of driving all the way around the peninsula, but clearer heads prevailed in the end and we cut off the top part, shortening the driving time. We did make a few stops along the way, just to look around.
The roads were rather like the roads in the interior of British Columbia, which is to say narrow, winding and steep. The difference was the plant life - its a jungle out there! Everything is lush green, so dense you can't see anyway to penetrate it. And this is winter time!
Our first real stop was the beach town of Whangamata, on the east side of the Coromandel, near the half way point of our trip. We grabbed a bite of lunch with the locals at a cafe, then decided to take a peek at the beach before heading on our way.
But that was just a minor distraction to our real goal - Tauranga. That isn't to say we didn't have some more distracts along the way...
And then suddenly, there we were, in Tauranga. Tauranga is actually a fairly significant city in the New Zealand scheme of things, with a big port that does lots of kiwi fruit shipping. Its also a big tourist town, which means it was pretty darn quiet in Tauranga... after all, its winter time. We decided we needed to explore Tauranga proper before heading out to the farm. And, more importantly, we needed a map that would actually show us where the farm was. So we found a convenient parking space along the street and parked - not just any old parking, mind you. This was one of them there foreign right-hand drive, left-hand side of the street type parallel parking jobs. Didn't hit nothin, neither, and was all straight and purdy when done too. Once parked, we fed the meter and went out exploring.
First we found a cafe and raised our caffeine levels, then went in search of a toilet - which happened to be beside the information center for tourists, which was open, and had maps. After a bit of studying, we realized we had a tricky bit of driving to get to the farm. What qualifies as a tricky bit of driving in New Zealand? Negotiating two round-abouts back-to-back with a left hand exit and a right-hand turn all in the space of about a hundred feet. And other than ending up on the wrong side of the road at the end of it (right-hand turns being the BIG turns in this country, not the small ones), we pulled it off and found our way to Ohauiti (pronounced "Oh-Haw-Eee-Tee") Road.
And up near the top of Ohauiti Road there was the very farm we were looking for. And inside it there was no aunts - it was only 4pm, the aunts were still at work, but an aunt husband, the one and only Graeme was there. Being winter and all, Graeme wasn't as busy as usual at the dairy farm - the cows were dry, just maintenance work and such to do and besides, Graeme had a whopper of a cold.
After a bit of tea and a visit, we wandered around the outside of the house, taking in the view and visiting a few of the local fauna.
Shortly after sunset, the aunts returned home, along with Janelle and Liz, a German exchange student staying with the Nees. Dinner had been planned for Judy's place down at the bottom of the hill, so we all adjourned there. Shortly after we arrived, Malcolm and Anna paid a visit as well - bringing little Allyson along as well.
Judy had a spare room set up for us, so we didn't have far to go to get some sleep. The next morning we'd get some visit time with Judy and Jeanette, then start heading for Levin and Granny Stanton.